C.America Part 5: Mexico

Being somewhat familiar with and appreciating the yumminess of the Mexican cuisine, we were excited to embark upon our final destination, Mexico. Except, we embarked upon Cancun.
I had never been to Cancun, but only heard of party tales and seen popular girls come back with stupid braids in their hair after spring break. Well, now that I’ve been there, I can actually have an opinion – I kind of loved it and and I kind of hated it.
I loved the white sand beach and swimming in the bluest blue of the Caribbean ocean. I loved having a nice hotel room with cable and AC looking over the ocean. I loved being able to flush toilet paper and having huge clean towels.
I hated the whole tourist aspect of “the strip”. I hated seeing the brands of suburban America. I hated seeing the luxury malls. I did not like the overpriced cocktails. Fat white people with bad tattoos and stupid braids in their swimsuits were not an enjoyable sight on the beach. At least keep your mouths shut. Ok, I don’t want to hate, I’m gonna stop my hate list here.
Cancun should just be called Cancun, Cancun and not be associated with Mexico. Because all that craving for Mexican food that I’ve built up in the last 2 weeks could hardly be satisfied. There were plenty beach vendors selling useless souvenir that you couldn’t bring home, e.g. hugh shell horn, and “cuban” cigars that have been carried around in 90 degree sun for the past month, but not a single street food vendor in sight.

Things weren’t looking so promising. We were contemplating taking a bus into downtown Cancun or going to Hooter’s when we came across a small taco shop called Caminero in a small alley. It seemed like another mediocre tourist trap at first, all the homies that worked there were working the alley, trying to attract customers. We decide to try it and sit down outside. Across the alley is a restaurant called ‘taco factory’, and at least we are not at Hooter’s.

Magic happens when you expect the least. First is a tray full of salsas which all make their way onto our table. All 8 bowls of stuff. I’m liking their style.clockwise from top: lime slices, roasted habanero salsa, creamy red chili salsa, diced onion and cilantro, avocado salsa, diced tomato, onion and jalapeño salsa, pickled onion slices, and chips in the center, duh!

Al pastor burrito.

Unlike what we’re used to here in SF or America in general… the burrito comes a bit deconstructed. The burrito itself only had the meat in it. It was a pure al pastor burrito. Then on the side were lettuce and guacamole. With 7 kinds of salsa on top, the cross section of my burrito could make the center fold.

The next day, we almost went to Hooter’s because we wanted to catch the Giant’s game somewhere. But thank god, they were only showing football, baseball is obviously too classy for Hooter’s. After catching the winning game at a sports betting place with reclining sofas and AC, we had back to Caminero, the best option on the strip known to us.

I had spotted an interesting item on the menu yesterday so I have to try it. Gizzard taco.Only familiar with pan fried chicken gizzard as a Korean drinking food of sort… I’m surprised by the very soft texture of gizzard in their taco. They must have simmered it first to achieve the tenderness, otherwise gizzard can be very chewy – which is also good in its own right.

I guess things could have been worse in Cancun, Cancun. But I can choose to remember only the things I love about it. And the magic that happens when you expect the least.

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